Hello dear friends,
We began 2013 in Austin, Texas, where Marcia and I attended a classic house party in the grand tradition (several days in duration) hosted by my brother, Thomas Tracey and his gracious and indefatigable wife, Camille, featuring my other brother, Paul and his wife, Tracie; sister, Karen; their children; and those children’s friends. New Year’s Eve was celebrated with fireworks and the 1812 overture blasting from industrial speakers from the balcony of Thomas’s garage situated on a high ridge overlooking Austin. There was much celebrating … w-a-y too much celebrating.
To recover from that glorious week, we drove (!!! having made a long road trip from Annapolis !!!) to Houston, stopping for the night at the home of former USNA student, Brian Weaver and his family, who had put together a small party of other former singers, and again, we celebrated long and hard. To “recover” from that overindulgence, we then drove to New Orleans to spend a few days in the French Quarter in a little hotel just off Bourbon Street, visiting Marcia’s colleague, author Julie Smith and her husband, Lee Pryor, and visiting the World War Two museum … a must see!
After a pleasant, but cold and damp spell in the Big Easy, we drove on to West Palm Beach, Florida, where we left the car and flew to the Bahamas for the winter. This should have been a good place to dry out, but in our twelve weeks there, we hosted ten weeks of guests, many of whom had visions of drinks with umbrellas, so that plan also failed.
Among the many highlights were visits by our children, Sarah and Jon and family in January, Laura and Abby in March, Marcia’s sisters and a brother-in-law, and many old and dear friends. I returned to Annapolis and faced a very stern lecture from my physician, and now I’m leading a much more sensible life. (Well, most of the time.)
In April, the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University saw fit to bestow upon me an alumni achievement award; a great honor.
In April and May, once again I was involved in a music festival spanning a series of weekends, and Marcia dashed around doing book events in New York and Washington and Pittsburg, and various other places while promoting the release of her twelfth Hannah Ives mystery, DARK PASSAGE, set on a cruise ship.
And the sailing season got underway! This year, we stayed on the Chesapeake, but took Iolanthe on a number of short cruises to Baltimore, St Michaels, and the North Bay and did a lot of day sailing with friends and family.
June and July were devoted to hosting “Camp Grandma”, a series of weeks in which various grandchildren stayed with us while taking sailing lessons and doing other fascinating things, like train trips to New York to stay overnight and visit Mecca, i.e. The American Girl Doll store on 5th Avenue.
At the end of July, we hustled up to New Hampshire for a Dutton Girl reunion, featuring Marcia and her sisters, and their numerous children and grandchildren, included our own. We rented two houses on Silver Lake near Harrisville, NH, the quintessential New England village. One was right on the lake, the other on a hill nearby, all nestled in the foothills of Mount Monodnock. We enjoyed a week of kayaking, fishing, hiking, swimming, and hanging out on the porch singing in the evening; it is, after all, a musical family, and this summer saw an alarming proliferation of guitars and ukeleles.
August featured more sailing -- hot, no wind, but what’s new on the Chesapeake Bay in August? Marcia took her annual trip to England for the St Hilda’s Crime and Mystery weekend in Oxford, the Music Within the Liturgy Festival at Edington in Wiltshire, and visiting friends and her London publisher. At the end of the month, I was once again in Chautauqua, NY, for a week leading a summer music camp for seniors with old colleague, Jeanne Kelly, founder and grand dame of Encore Creativity, the organization that promotes singing by older adults, i.e. Geezers.
In September, we were on the road again, this time to beautiful Newport, RI, for the wedding of Marcia’s sister Susan’s second daughter, Revka, on the beach. The weather cooperated beautifully, and the band at the reception, The Moldy Suitcases, was a real treat!
In October Marcia traveled to Albany, New York, for Bouchercon, the World Mystery Conference, followed immediately by a fast trip back to D.C. as one of the honored guests at the Smithsonian Institutions's Evening of Authors and Art. (Marcia is pictured here with Katherine Neville and Daniel Stashower.)
This month, November, I was especially pleased when my USNA successor, Aaron Smith, asked me to help out with preparations for this year’s Messiah program. Staying involved with the Academy is a joy, as is filling in from time to time for local area organists in various churches around town.
At the end of the month, we flew to Hawaii for a couple of weeks with brother Thomas and Camille, who have a vacation villa on Kauai. What a beautiful spot!
We hiked, swam, snorkeled, kayaked, and toured the island extensively, then spend an extraordinary few days in the home of one of my most distinguished former students, Admiral Sam Locklear, who is presently commander of U.S. Forces, Pacific. All of them. It is a very nice house, known informally as “The White House of the Pacific.”
We are back in town for just a week, then off to the Bahamas, this year earlier than ever before as we try to find the best rhythm for our declining years. We’ll spend the first month in Hope Town on Elbow Cay, then return to our usual rental house, Tradewinds, on Dickies Cay, the tiny island that forms the Man O War Harbor. Troubadour, our old and trusty Tartan 37, awaits, hanging on a mooring in the harbor at there. We’ll finish out the year hosting Laura, David, and children for Thanksgiving in the islands, and Sarah and Jon and children for Christmas. Marcia is wondering if she can get a frozen turkey past airport security.
We’re all doing as well as can be expected. Marcia had another cancer scare with a malignant thyroid that was removed last fall, and there was great rejoicing when the one year scan showed no trace of anything bad remaining.
All the children, husbands, and their children are well; Ben Geyer is flourishing at Earlham, now in his Sophomore year, a recipient of a substantial scholarship given for being a superb student. What a concept! Jon Geyer is excelling academically, dramatically, and musically, involved in everything, and trying to decide where his focus is best placed. All the rest are doing well in school, still too early to say how well, but their futures all look bright to me. Laura continues to practice Law at Aiken Gump, David heads a division in the Office of the Historian at the State Department. Son-in-law Jon Glass is practicing Dermatology at the Navy Hospital in Portsmouth, and has selected for Commander; Sarah is working at home, doing professional work for Sisters in Crime and putting her training as a Master Gardener to good use both at home and in the town of Chesapeake, VA, all the while bringing up three young children. Our lives are enriched by a wonderful family and many warm friendships that we now have to time to enjoy.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays, to all, and to all a good night! -- Barry